Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Five Steps to Aphid Control

Aphids, also known under their family name Aphididae, are a slow moving pest found in different shades of green, red, brown, black and yellow. They can be spotted by their pear-shaped, oblong bodies and are identifiable by the two tubes (called chronicles) projecting from their rear. You may have seen these little pests around your garden before. Not to worry! Common to gardens big and small, Aphids are a familiar insect across US and Canada due to their diversity in species variety and their rate of reproduction. Attributable to their prevalence, there have been many products developed, solutions made, and preventions discovered. These pests are best treated early and diligently—the five steps to aphid control are to trap and monitor, use repellent sprays, implement general predators, find a great knockdown spray, and to make use of aphid parasites.


Trap & Monitor

Aphid attacks take form in a variety of ways and results from these invasions can range from having no response at all to plants having curled or swollen leaves. Symptoms of aphid damage can include decreased growth rates, mottled leaves, browning, wilting, low yields and death. One way to take control of your aphid predicament is to trap and monitor. Sticky traps can be a great way to keep an eye on your crop and catch any early signs of aphid infestation. These traps use a color spectrum to attract pests and prevent further damage by giving you a sense of the severity of the problem at hand. Sticky traps work best for outdoor gardens and potted plants. Ribbon Traps are ideal for row crops and greenhouses. With their vibrant yellow color, this method attracts aphids to the brightness of its sticky surface to trap and monitor the pests.


Repellent Sprays

Although aphids can cause minimal damage, these pests have the potential to transmit bacterial and viral diseases. If such a condition is spread, this can be much more of a challenge to control than the actual aphids themselves. Any of these methods listed above and below will work to combat your aphid problem, including repellant sprays. Check out Garlic Barrier spray to get  broad spectrum action with minimal contact effects. This spray can be best used in a variety of gardens from commercial to residential, and can be used safely around people, pets, animals and fish. Aphids won’t care much for the sulfurs absorbed from the garlic if you use this spray!


General Predators

Another problem caused by aphids is the sticky substance they leave around stems and leaves. This “honeydew” is a sugary liquid that is produced by aphids as waste. It can attract other insects like ants that will eat the honeydew, causing more issues for your garden. Yet another reason to find a solution for your aphid issues! The third way to limit aphid population growth is to use general predators. Green Lacewings are a great way to control soft bodied insects including aphids. These helpful creatures are ideal for lowering aphid populations! In addition, both Assassin Bugs and Minute Pirate Bugs are two more effective forms of general predator bugs that will assist in curbing population growth of these pernicious pests.


Knockdown Sprays

Not only can the “honeydew” that these aphids produce cause problems in itself, but sometimes this sticky substance can encourage fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and Black Sooty Mold. An additional way to control aphids and prevent such fungal diseases is through the use of knockdown sprays. Before a significant amount of aphids are spotted, Insecticidal Soap sprays can efficiently minimize effects on beneficial insects while keeping your aphid populations contained. Using neem oil is another method to rid of these pests. However, there is a bigger risk to beneficials, unlike the insecticidal soap mentioned previously. BotaniGard® 22WP is yet another useful way to regulate your aphid issues through the use of Beauveria bassiana, which spreads a disease by the name of White Muscardine to kill these pests.


Aphid Parasites

Effective releases of general predators are a helpful way to limit aphid populations. However, if you are looking to control a more severe infestation, use aphid parasites. By using parasites to specifically target your aphid problems, your efforts overall will be more effective!  Aphid parasites include Aphidius colemani, Aphelinus abdominalis, Aphidius ervi, and Aphidoletes aphidimyza.

Although aphids are a widespread challenge for gardeners, commercial growers and greenhouses, these pests can be quite detrimental to one’s garden if not under control before reproduction starts. Thankfully, there are many solutions and methods of prevention due to their prevalence and abundance across gardens in North America. Many of these solutions can be found on ARBICO’s dedicated aphid webpage. By following the five steps to aphid control, your garden should be abundant in no time!

By: Kyra @ ARBICO Organics 

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